Happiness (2021) summary and ending explained

‘Happiness’ (2021) is a Korean drama web series that follows the residents of a high-rise building who fight for survival when a deadly virus breaks out and turns the infected into blood-lusting zombies. The series is now available on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

The South Korean government has released a revolutionary drug, Next, which promises to bolster the fight against COVID during the global pandemic that shut down the world and presumably improve the lives of their citizens.

However, the experimental drug which was supposed to fight off pneumonia and COVID has given birth to “madness” as candidates who received the drug start losing their minds and develop an insatiable craving for human blood. 

Yoon Sae-Bom encounters a trainee, Lee Jong-Tae, at the Special Operations Unit. Jong-Tae offers him the drug while taking it himself as well. He is then revealed to have a thirst for human blood. While trying to subdue the trainee, Sae-bom ends up getting scratched. 

In the process, Sae-bom meets Lieutenant Colonel Han Tae-Seok from the Crisis Management Center at CDSCHQ, who later informs the corporals of Seyang Police Station that people are acting rabid due to a mutant virus that affects the brain. He adds that when one is bitten, they either die from excessive bleeding or get infected. 

Sae-Bom turns out to remain uninfected, while getting tested in Tae-Seok’s secret facility. Amid this chaos, she seeks an opportunity to possess her dream house and asks Yi-Hyun to marry her in order to get the required points for acquiring the apartment.

Jung Yi-Hyun is her high-school friend and is currently a corporal detective at Seyang Police Station. She assists Yi-Hyun in their agreement to write themselves down as a married couple in order to attain the rights to the apartment. 

‘Next’ finds its way to the members of the local members of this apartment complex, leaving a trail of mysteries for the detectives to solve.

If you still have doubts about the ending, here’s a full breakdown.

Happiness (2021) ending explained in detail:

Virus imbued chaos

In the midst of a pandemic, Seyang finds itself affected by a deadly virus that is spread by being bitten or scratched. The virus, known as the Rita Virus, makes the infected experience short bouts of insanity and bloodlust, before completely regressing into a zombie-like state.

The military and special forces try to contain the spread of the virus by taking heavy measures, like locking the infected up and starving them – of human blood – to death. 

From Lee Jong-tae to Lee Seung-young (Sae-Bom’s partner at the Special Operations Unit), the number of the infected rises as Tae-Seok remains adamant about his way of dealing with the new virus.

While Sae-bom and Yi-hyun threaten Tae-seok about telling everyone, Seung-young ends up leaking every secret that Tae-seok’s facility was trying to keep to the national news at the risk of being killed within the facility.

Sae-Bom bonds with Seo-Yoon, a little girl who happens to be her neighbour. While the apartment is being put under quarantine, Seo-Yoon’s mother, Eun-Ji is held up outside the apartment and asks Sae-bom to look after her daughter for a while.

Later, Eun-Ji gets infected too, as the cases keep rising out of the authorities’ hands, with minimum resources.

Love in the time of Rita

The Rita Virus brings chaos, love and fickleness. Yoon Sae-bom and Han Tae-Seok make a pact to be registered as a married couple in order to receive an apartment in a newly constructed high-rise building called ‘Seyang Forest Le Ciel 101’.

While the couple pretends to be married and in love, the show progresses to unveil their closeness and intimacy. 

Yi-Hyun, in many instances, risks everyone to save Sae-bom. At some point, when the residents suspect Sae-bom and plan to kick her out, Yi-Hyun has to prove to the residents that Sae-bom is rather innocent by drawing her blood, as the fear of the true infected one in the building rises.

As the plot thickens and chaos stirs, Sae-bom develops feelings for Yi-Hyun. Realising the same, Sae-bom sets out to rescue him.

The possibility of a cure

After all the disarray, it was discovered that Sae-bom’s blood was the answer to the cure and to saving Yi-Hyun from staying a blood-sucking monster.

The final episode is filled with suffocating tension and lingering feelings as Sae-bom returns to the residential building just to save Yi-Hyun.

Tae-Seok hands Sae-bom the cure that was made out of her own blood. She chooses to save Seo-Yoon’s mother instead. 

When Sae-bom re-enters the residential building for Yi-Hyun, he is able to control his thirst for the sake of her life. They finally share their first kiss. 

A year later, it is shown that everyone has been cured with the antibodies of Sae-bom and resume living their normal lives in happiness.


Also Read: The Sound of Magic: Release date, cast, synopsis, trailer & more